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History of AGV

Issuing time:2024-06-21 08:54Author:PhoenixPowerLink:

History of AGV

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) arebattery-powered material handling devices capable of autonomous navigationthrough preset guidance systems such as magnetic strips, lasers, vision, etc.,and are able to transport materials along predetermined routes. Since theirinception in the 1950s, AGVs have played a crucial role in automated logisticssystems, with their development roughly divided into several stages:

Origins and Early Development (1950s-1970s)

The concept of AGVs originated in theUnited States. In 1953, a company called Barrett Electronics showcased theworld's first prototype AGV, the "Driverless Truck," at the NorthAmerican International Manufacturing Exhibition. This AGV primarily relied onembedded wires in the ground for guidance and was used for transporting goodswithin warehouses. Initially, AGVs were mainly used in the automotivemanufacturing industry to address material handling challenges on productionlines and enhance productivity. Around the 1920s, Ford Motor Company in theUnited States adopted mechanically guided automatic transfer vehicles onautomotive production lines, which can be considered as the earliest form ofAGVs. The mechanical guidance system was similar to that of Railed GuidedVehicles (RGVs), which involved creating guide trenches on the ground and usingmechanical guide rods sliding within these trenches for steering.

The first true AGV was born in 1953,converted from a tractor with a cart, transporting goods along wires suspendedin the air in a grocery warehouse. By the late 1950s to the early 1960s,various types of towed AGVs were already in use in factories and warehouses indeveloped countries.

Technological Breakthroughs and ExpandedApplications (1980s-1990s)

From the 1980s onwards, with thedevelopment of computer and sensor technologies, the navigation methods of AGVsdiversified, introducing various navigation methods such as laser guidance,magnetic nail guidance, optical guidance, etc., which improved the flexibilityand accuracy of AGVs. Meanwhile, the application of AGVs expanded from theinitial automotive industry to electronics, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, food,port terminals, and other industries. Additionally, this period saw theemergence of AGV scheduling systems based on wireless communication technology,enabling multiple AGVs to work collaboratively in the same environment.

Intelligent and Networked Development Stage(2000s to Present)

Entering the 21st century, with theadvancement of advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things, big data,and artificial intelligence, the functionality and performance of AGVs havebeen significantly enhanced. Modern AGVs generally feature autonomouspositioning, path planning, obstacle avoidance, and some can even achieve dynamicscheduling, task optimization, and seamless integration with other smartdevices. For example, AGVs based on Simultaneous Localization and Mapping(SLAM) technology have begun to emerge, greatly expanding the applicationscenarios of AGVs.

New Demands Driven by IntelligentManufacturing and Unmanned Warehousing (Recent Decade)

With the widespread promotion ofintelligent manufacturing and smart logistics concepts globally, the role ofAGVs in modern warehousing systems has become increasingly prominent.Especially with the flourishing development of the e-commerce industry inrecent years, higher demands have been placed on efficient, accurate, andflexible automated logistics solutions. The construction of various unmannedwarehouses and intelligent warehousing systems has driven the prosperity of theAGV industry. Simultaneously, the forms of AGV products continue to diversify,ranging from small-scale handling robots to heavy-duty stackers, fromindividual devices to cluster collaborative operations, cateringcomprehensively to different scenarios' needs.

In conclusion, the development history ofAGVs is a tale of technological innovation, evolving from simple guidedtransportation tools to highly intelligent and networked logistics equipment.They have played a crucial role in driving the automation of logisticsprocesses across various industries. In the future, amid the backdrop ofIndustry 4.0 and intelligent manufacturing, AGVs will become more deeplyintegrated into smart factories and intelligent logistics systems, providingrobust support for achieving higher levels of production and logisticsautomation.

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